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Mason Foster fined for hit on Ochocinco, but receiver says he’ll reimburse him

08.24.11 at 5:14 pm ET
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Tampa Bay’s Mason Foster was fined $20,000 for a hit on Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco in a preseason game last Thursday, according to ABC Action News in Tampa.

The shot, which took place in the first half of last Thursday’s Patriots-Buccaneers game, drew a flag for unnecessary roughness, but Ochocinco tweeted shortly after the game that he would pay any fine that Foster incurred. (That led to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello telling Pro Football Talk that Ochocinco wouldn’t be allowed to pay on behalf of Foster, saying each player must pay their own fines.)

However, in the wake of Wednesday’s news, the Patriots’ receiver tweeted that he didn’t agree with the decision, addressing a Tweet toward NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: @nflcommish Dad no disrespect but I don’€™t agree with @mason_foster fine [and] I’€™ll be reimbursing him personally. Please feel free to contact me. No word yet from the NFL on what they plan to do when/if Ochocinco writes Foster a check.

Read More: Chad Ochocinco, Greg Aiello, Mason Foster, roger goodell

Tom Brady on Peyton Manning, Jets in the Super Bowl and waterslides

08.24.11 at 3:03 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tom Brady said Wednesday he’s hardly shocked by the latest predictions coming from Jets camp that this will finally be the year the Jets win the Super Bowl.

“The Jets? Yeah, well, we’ve heard that for a few years so it’s always… you don’t ever hear us talking too much about that,” Brady said with a smile on Wednesday at the press room podium.

“I think there’s a long ways to go between now and the regular season. We’ve got a very important preseason game coming up and all these preseason games are important for us. It’s so far away at this point.”

The Patriots have outscored their opponents 78-26 in rolling to a 2-0 preseason record so far. They take on Ndamukong Suh and the Detroit Lions this Saturday night at Ford Field in Detroit.

“We’ve got other things on our mind,” Brady added, before being asked if he pays particular attention to the moves the Jets in the offseason.

“Sure, yeah. I pay attention to every team,” he said with a smile.

Then there’s the rival of the Patriots that actually has been to the Super Bowl in Brady’s tenure. And actually Peyton Manning has led the Colts to two Super Bowls, including a winning performance in Super Bowl XLI over the Bears.

But there’s plenty of speculation whether Manning will be calling signals for the Colts in their season-opener against the Texans on Sept. 11. Manning came into the NFL in 1998 and has started all 208 games in his career. With off-season neck surgery, the Colts this week announced the signing of Kerry Collins as an insurance policy should Manning not be able to go. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: detroit lions, Indianapolis Colts, kerry collins, Ndamukong Suh

Patriots re-sign rookie offensive lineman Mike Berry

08.24.11 at 2:51 pm ET
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The Patriots announced Wednesday they have re-signed rookie free agent offensive lineman Mike Berry. Berry originally signed with the Patriots on July 27 as a rookie free agent from Auburn and then was released on Aug. 3. Berry, 6-foot-3 and 316 pounds, started all 14 games in 2010 at right guard and was part of an offensive line that paved the way for 254 yards rushing and 519 yards of total offense in the national championship win over Oregon.

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Entering his second season, Taylor Price says he’s ready to make that jump

08.24.11 at 2:49 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” It was a strange rookie season for wide receiver Taylor Price.

The Ohio product was inactive for 15 of the 16 regular-season games in 2010, essentially taking a redshirt year while he sat behind veterans like Wes Welker and Deion Branch and learned the system. He did catch three passes for 41 yards in the regular-season finale, but that was it for the 6-foot, 205-pounder.

However, after a month in camp, it’€™s clear that Price used that year in the system to his advantage. He’€™s spent the summer angling for the fourth or fifth wide receiver spot in the roster, as well as getting in some work as a return man. In the preseason opener against the Jaguars, he had five catches for 105 yards and one touchdown, and added some work on special teams to boot.

‘€œ[With] one year in the system, I feel pretty good,’€ Price said before practice on Wednesday. ‘€œI learned a lot, so I think I’€™m ready to make that next jump as far as being a rookie and now moving on to a so-called veteran or second year. I’€™m ready to make that jump and ready to contribute on this team as soon as possible.’€

After sitting last week in the preseason win over Tampa Bay because of an undisclosed injury, the 23-year-old acknowledged that it’€™s a hard thing to keep the momentum generated from his performance in the preseason opener.

‘€œThat first game doesn’€™t mean anything,’€ said Price, who added that he ‘€œcan’€™t wait’€ to play this week in Detroit against the Lions.

‘€œYou have to get back out on the field again, prove it again,’€ he said. ‘€œ[You have to] keep proving yourself, because in this league, you have to prove yourself, each and every week. I’€™m going to keep going out there, keep getting better and keep making plays.’€

With a cadre of veterans like Welker, Branch and Chad Ochocinco, reps are hard to come by, but Price said he’€™s trying to make the most of what’€™s given to him.

‘€œDuring training camp, I’€™m just treating every practice like a game day,’€ he said. ‘€œGoing out there, working hard and trying to make every single play. I’€™m not pressing too much. I’€™m just going out there and trusting my abilities ‘€” just play fast and play football and let everything take care of itself.’€

It takes time to build those reps, just as it takes time to build chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady.

‘€œIt’€™s not challenging,’€ Price said of working with the quarterback. ‘€œYou just have to go out there and play it. You just have to let your athletic ability take over, your natural instincts as a football player take over and not think too much. It’€™s easy to think a lot in this offense ‘€” what do I have here, what do I have there, what are my adjustments. If you just know your stuff and be prepared, you just go out there and let it all hang out and just flow. You should be all right.’€

Price is lockering next to Ochocinco, and said the new wide receiver ‘€” as well as the rest of the veterans on the team ‘€” have had a big influence on him over the last month.

‘€œJust being a professional,’€ he said when asked what he’€™s learning from the veterans. ‘€œYour day-to-day activity. Not just on the field and in the meetings, but the day-to-day. How you carry yourself in the locker room. Your relationships. Your chemistry with your quarterback. [Your] relationship with your coach. Just the little things here and there that really help.

‘€œWe have great receivers ‘€” Wes, Deion, Chad. Whatever I can use from them, like I said … just use anything I can. Just learn. We have some of the best skill players in the league. Just learn from them.’€

Read More: Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch, Taylor Price, Wes Welker

Nate Solder and Shane Vereen return to practice with Patriots

08.24.11 at 2:27 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The Patriots just opened their Wednesday afternoon practice session under occasionally cloud skies on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. With Bill Belichick‘s pal Jon Bon Jovi in attendance, rookies Nate Solder, Shane Vereen and Lee Smith were all back on the field after time away from the practice field. (For Vereen, it was only his first practice since Aug. 3.) In addition, defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was on the field as well.

The following players were not spotted at the start of practice: Stevan Ridley, Leigh Bodden, Kevin Faulk, Malcolm Williams, Jeff Tarpinian, Dane Fletcher, Brandon Spikes, Marcus Cannon, Ryan Wendell, Brandon Deaderick, Jermaine Cunningham, Ron Brace and Mike Wright. In addition, the new player that Nick Caserio hinted at earlier in the day during his press availability was on the field ‘€” he was No. 66, and working out with the offensive linemen. We anticipate an announcement on his status later today.

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Bill Belichick, Brandon Deaderick, Brandon Spikes

Fantasy Football 2011: Second-year breakout players

08.24.11 at 6:52 am ET
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This is one of our favorite groups to target on draft day. The Year 2 players often make great sleepers for psychological reasons. This is usually because they failed to break out as rookies. Some came close, like Jacoby Ford, but there are still questions surrounding these players. So, while many created excitement going into their rookie campaigns, they now reside among the large group of players who ‘€œhaven’€™t gotten it done.’€

This creates some nice opportunities for value.

Brandon LaFell, WR, Panthers

We like LaFell a lot as far as his ability goes. He hasn’€™t jumped off the screen as a pro, but he has flashed the skills we saw in college enough to make us think he will be hooking up with Cam Newton regularly at some point. Of course, for LaFell, after wading through the rookie waters in 2010, he will now have to deal with his QB doing the same thing. We like him as a deep sleeper, but his success will ultimately be tied to Newton, whom we think gets better game by game.

Eric Decker, WR, Broncos

We told you about him last year in our rookie report, and our opinion has not changed. What has changed is his situation. Decker now has a chance to cement himself as a staple of John Fox‘€™ new offense. Fox loves having a big receiver to block in his power running attack, and Decker fits the bill nicely. This will keep him on the field and we like him as a player between the 20s … but also in the red zone. Decker makes for a very nice deep sleeper in large redraft leagues. Few people are talking about him.

Arrelious Benn, WR, Bucs

He’€™s a far more popular player than LaFell or Decker, but since he is coming off a nasty injury, we’€™re a bit surprised. Still, he is very talented and he was forging a nice relationship with QB Josh Freeman before he went down. Benn should be a starter very soon and he could easily have WR3 value at some point in 2011. He’€™s a nice way to add depth in the later rounds.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Fantasy Football, Arrelious Benn, Brandon LaFell, Eric Decker

Shaun Ellis wants to be ‘more explosive’ with Albert Haynesworth

08.23.11 at 5:27 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Shaun Ellis has all the motivation in the world to want to play Saturday night against the Lions in the Patriots third preseason game.

He has seen the likes of Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Mark Anderson, Mike Wright and Andre Carter fire off against the opposing offensive line.

Now, the 34-year-old veteran entering his 12th NFL season has the chance to play in his first game as a Patriot, and he could be teamed with Albert Haynesworth on Saturday night at Ford Field if everything goes as planned this week in practice and, of course, Bill Belichick is satisfied that both vets are ready for game reps.

Game reps. It’s the preseason lifeblood of defensive linemen who are trying to get their hand and foot techniques in working order for when the bullets start flying for real in the second weekend in September.

Ellis said Tuesday that his first practice this week in full pads [on Monday] went well, and he was joined by Haynesworth on Tuesday.

“It went pretty good,” Ellis said before Tuesday’s practice. “Just getting in the flow and getting my timing back. Just trying to improve every day and going through my routine, just fundamentals of football and just keep persistent with that on game week.”

What will be the key for Ellis and Haynesworth potentially playing together on the D-line? Chemistry.

“We have a lot of guys that’s play-makers and that are good at what they do. We just have to gel, gel together and we’ll see what happens,” Ellis said. “We just have to put work in together. I think once we get together and everyone is there, I think we’ll be OK.”

But what was most telling about his pre-practice session with reporters was what he said about what he hopes to bring on the defensive line. Ellis is hoping to bring the explosive attack Pats fans saw all too often when he was with the Jets, including the two first-half sacks of Tom Brady last January in the playoffs. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Bill Belichick, detroit lions, New England Patriots
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